Once upon a time, in an airport far, far away, where people were allowed to travel all over the world without fear of disease, quarantine, death, etc. It was a time when musicians flowed freely among the tourists and travelers to the Pacific Northwest, entertaining them between flights, breaking up their boredom with stories, and creating an all-around happier and more interesting environment, there was a group of weary travelers. Laden with sleeping bags, heavy suitcases, downtrodden and bitter with the setbacks of flight delays and changes of plans, this group dragged themselves into the food court at SeaTac International Airport, and melted into the ground, piling on top of one another like grumpy, hot cattle on a sweltering Montana afternoon. 

That morning, Jared and I had been assigned the 8-12 shift at “Central”, which meant we got the coveted Food Court spot where musicians got to set up very much like a restaurant setting and play to a somewhat captive audience, as well as all the passersby to various gates in the airport. It’s our favorite of the allocated spots for that reason. We get to put on a show and connect with travelers in a unique way because that’s where the tables and chairs are, so people tend to stay longer. We can get people who have a 30-min break, to people who have a few hours to kill, sitting and enjoying the show. It was this second category that the Klippenes family and crew fell into. 

That summer of 2019, the group had headed into Mexico from Montana to work with an orphanage for a ministry service. After that, the last thing they needed was to be delayed in getting home as well as receiving some bad news from the home front about some dear friends, victims of a drunk driving accident. They needed some joy. And we got to deliver. 

As Jared and I played that morning, we watched the transformation of the group go from tired, bummed, let down, and sad to uplifted, joyful, moved, and full of laughter. We didn’t know them. We didn’t know we’d ever see them again. We didn’t know where they’d come from or where they were going. All we knew is that we had a job to do and we were grateful for the opportunity to do it. And that began our relationship with the Klippenes family. 

Fast forward to 2021 and much correspondence later, and we’re on our way to a farm outside of Great Falls, Montana, to play a much-anticipated house concert for the family who we met on what could have just been a tough day, end of story, for them, and an ordinary day at work for us! 

Since they weren’t going to be home til 6:30 or so, and we got into town around 4:00, we had some time to kill. We had already seen the “Great Falls” of Great Falls two years ago, so we decided to hit up Gibson Park, home of the best named pioneer man and his cabin, “Vinegar Jones”.  (I want a new pet, just so I can name it that)

The park had geese-one hissed at Rudy and here’s his impression. 

An amphitheater for music and maybe Shakespeare in the park!

Some BEAUTIFUL gardens!

But mostly just a nice place to catch our breath, stretch our legs, and reconnect before the weekend of shows. 

Time came to head over to Shane and Quenby’s farm. Warm, big hugs and smiles greeted us from both humans and animals. We were shown the grounds, our separate cabin to stay in, the sheep, 

chickens, cats and dogs, 

and we were fed a delicious dinner of smoked meat and potatoes, salad with huckleberry balsamic dressing (yes, Montana is the huckleberry capitol) and then homemade peach pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert. We shared stories and laughed until it actually got chilly, a nice change for this weather, and then headed off to bed. 

*Not where we actually slept, but this was only part of the gorgeous view from our son’s room’s window

I’m so glad we have a job that allows us to meet so many amazing humans, be welcomed into their personal spaces, see how they live and love, and be welcomed back. Not sure how many jobs actually allow for that, but “I wouldn’t trade it for the world”! 


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